Lydia Ko moved back ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn Sunday in the race to win the LPGA money title, but lost a chance to make up ground in the Rolex Player of the Year race with a late stumble.
Ko’s even-par 71 was good for a tie for 12th Sunday at the Sime Darby Malaysia.
She finished nine shots better than Jutanugarn, who tied for 43rd, and 17 shots better than Brooke Henderson, who tied for 63rd.
With the $26,692 she claimed in winnings, Ko moves back atop the LPGA money list. Ko is $3,744 ahead of Jutanugarn in winnings.
“I didn’t really play well in Korea the couple weeks before, but it just shows that I can have the confidence, and even after an OK first day, I could still put myself back in the mix,” Ko said. “I think there are still a lot of positives out there. It was good to see those birdies and those putts.”
Ko and Jutanugarn are scheduled to play twice more the rest of the season, with both playing next week’s Toto Japan Classic and the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Jutanugarn remains 13 points ahead of Ko in the Rolex Player of the Year race. If Ko doesn’t gain any ground on Jutanugarn in Japan next week, she will have to win the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship to win her second straight Rolex Player of the Year title. Jutanugarn can clinch the Player of the Year title with a victory in Japan.
A player must finish among the top 10 in an event to earn POY points. A victory is worth 30 points with second place worth 12 points and third worth nine. Points are awarded down to a single point for 10th place.
Ko made a hard run early Sunday at TPC Kuala Lumpur, getting within two shots of the lead, but a double bogey at the 15th hole and a bogey at the 18th cost her some Player of the Year points in this tight race.